Format – prose
Edition – e.book
Date of publication – March 14th 2017
Number of Pages – 384
Genre – YA Fairytale Retellings
Yeva knows the forests around her city like the back of her hand. To go out and hunt alongside her father is everything she wants to do in life but she is forced to live and grow up alongside the city’s highest aristocrats, learning to be a lady of considerable means. However when her father loses his wealth and is forced to move his family to his old hunting cabin, Yeva is secretly relieved – she is surrounded by an environment she loves and one that draws her to enter its world to hunt and help provide for her father and older sisters (Lena and Asenka).
One day, her father goes missing in the woods and she sets her mind on one path: hunting the elusive Beast he had been tracking just beforehand.
Despite the protests of her sisters, Yeva hunts this Beast back into his own territory and she discovers the world of creatures and curses that she’d only ever before heard about in fairy tales. She begins to wonder if the tales of her childhood were true and if she can bring salvation to the Beast and his decrepit landscape.
Rich with the integrity and natural charm of Beauty and the Beast, Hunted brings a refreshing and beautiful adaptation to the forefront of YA retellings. Combining essences of Russian folklore with the feel of the original and Disney stories, this will be a retelling I will revisit again and again.
I’ve currently read three/four Beauty and the Beast retellings (this one, As Old As Time, Beauty, and A Court of Wings and Ruin) and this one is my favourite because the gentle, fluid writing helps it to read like a fairy tale. It is slow but the beauty of the writing and the storytelling made it become that tale as old as time that we all love and cherish.
Yeva is how I imagined her to be: stubborn, determined, strong-willed, and resourceful. She takes her nickname of Beauty and personifies it, not in her physical appearance but with her intelligence and manner of being. She might run into a few mistakes along the way but she overcomes them with that tenacity that I’ve always loved. And, similarly to Disney’s Belle, also shares the power of storytelling once she realises its power and influence on the Beast.
If Yeva reached my expectations, the characterisation of the Beast exceeded them. Though his passages were relatively short compared to the main chapters, his tortured soul shone through the powerful writing and I was instantly drawn to his inner turmoil. Is he a beast, wolf, or a human? He doesn’t know, but thanks to Yeva he begins to challenge what he believes about himself.
We no longer know which she is, which we want her to be, which we need her to be. We know only that we need her. We must bring her back.
A wolf and a man. A woman and a dragon. Hunter and hunted. Nothing in this world has only one nature.
What struck me is that this fairy tale retelling had no villain. There was no Gaston, no town mob wanting to hunt down and kill the Beast. Yeva might have had an admirer in Solmir but he was accepting, loyal to Yeva’s family and a decent man that she would have married had it not been for the Beast. With Yeva and Beast’s growing acceptance and relationship as the focus of the story, the distinct lack of a villain was no hindrance. Any struggle was between them, and Yeva’s relationship between Lena and Asenka.
Any misfortunes were always the fault of the hero or heroine, misunderstanding what was really being said.
The only gripe I have is that the Beast’s transformation was too quick. He was a Beast and then suddenly human. No in between, no thoughts from Yeva, nothing. I would have at least expected some essence of shock and surprise from Yeva as the Beast was transforming into his human form, but oh well.
Regardless, I still loved it and it got me out of a rough reading patch so I am hugely grateful for it.
My rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Have you read it?
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and have a good day!